In the past year, three new educators have joined the University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit team. This new team of six worked together recently to showcase the expanded programs and knowledge base they offer locally to help make people and communities better.
The 5-week “Meet the Educators” webinar series launched in February and was offered both live and as recordings. Over the course of the series, over 85 participants attended the live webinars to interact and make connections with Extension staff.
“We wanted the webinars to be a two-way learning opportunity,” explained Nicole Flowers-Kimmerle, horticulture educator. “The educators shared about themselves and their program plans, while the participants offered their insights into their personal involvement with Extension programs.”
Council members, 4-H volunteers, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, and program partners were the target audience for Meet the Educators. As Nicole facilitated the weekly sessions, she saw first-hand the new connections and opportunities that were created through the two-way conversations.
Master Volunteer May Bach said, “Thank you for this webinar series, I was so glad to hear of the varied types of work being done by the University of Illinois Extension educators in our communities.”
The recordings are available on University of Illinois Extension’s Fulton, Mason, Peoria, Tazewell YouTube page. The collection of videos have been viewed 92 times in the first three months since the live sessions.
Session highlights include:
Nicole Flowers-Kimmerle, horticulture educator, and program coordinators, Christine Belless and Tara Heath: Core Horticulture Education training, Core Naturalist Education training, and Conservation@Home programs
Rebecca Crumrine, SNAP-Ed educator: food access education and programs offered, community collaborations, Food Pantry Network, and Community Garden Network
Judy Schmidt, 4-H metro youth educator: introductions of the 4-H team, overview the 4-H programs with highlights of after-school programs, Clovers Around the Counties, and Adventures in Nature
Richard Proffer, community economic development educator: networking with all of the community leaders in the four counties, Mason County broadband program, grant search service, facilitating U of I student projects in our communities, and Downtown Pekin Main Street are just a few projects in the works
Kevin Brooks, farm business management and marketing educator: new program area in our unit, building the new farm management web page full of resources for those who farm or own agricultural land including farm success, marketing & crop insurance, farmland, and management.
Meet the Educators 5-week webinar series showcased the work of each program area and gave the three new educators the opportunity to learn from stakeholders. The live sessions involved 85 participants and the recordings continue to be viewed on YouTube.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Nicole Flowers-Kimmerle is a Agriculture and Natural Resources (Horticulture) Educator for Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell counties. She completed a bachelor of science degree in crop science at the University of Illinois, and a master’s of science degree in agronomy with an emphasis in weed science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has also worked at Montana State University as a research associate where she worked on weed control in sugar beets and barley. She taught high school chemistry and other science classes where she was able to teach students in both the school garden and greenhouse. She works with both the Extension Master Gardeners and Extension Master Naturalists.
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